Another one of my unexpected favourite tourist attractions is the Rhondda Heritage Park in Pontypridd, South Wales.
Welsh history fascinates me. I was born and raised by English parents in a very rural welsh village. The cane was still used in our school and villagers were know by their occupation: Billy Siop, Bob the Milk, Brian the Coal etc.. And everyone knew Dai Jones!
A place we frequent quite often is The Welsh Museum of Life in St Fagan’s. Many of the buildings remind me fondly of my childhood and it is here that I found out about The Mining Museum.
Towards the end of the summer holidays, we packed our picnic and off we went on our daytrip to find out about life in the coal mining community which was still prevalent until the 1980’s.
We booked our guided tour with an experienced coal miner and just had enough time to explore the little museum beforehand. I leaned so much from the artefacts on display and from their descriptive purpose. Rory is always so keen to learn! He is also very keen to touch all objects that say “please do not touch”!!
Our small group was greeted by a very experienced retired coal miner. His stories of life in the coal mines were mesmerising. Our tour began and proceeded as if we were actual coal miners. Rory loved trying on the helmets and using the lamps. As I took my time taking in the environment, Rory stuck to the guide like glue. Whenever the guide asked a question, Rory put his hand up to answer! So incredibly proud of my boy. We went underground and the real life stories continued not only about the miners but about the animals involved in working in the mines, to the work of very young children, to the dangerous situations everyone faced on a daily basis. I have the upmost respect for everyone involved in working the mines. Generation after generation of young boys following in their fathers and grandfathers footsteps. Such hard labour at such a young age.
Back into daylight and with the tour ended we headed off to the Energy Zone, a children’s play area that occurs an entry charge. Plenty of play equipment and picnic benches for our lunch. Rory played happily and I sat back in the glorious sunshine wondering why in all of my years of living in South Wales, I had never been to this fascinating place before!